2011 Rookie Class: Sara Brown
Thursday, February 10, 2011, Ashley Mayo, Golf Digest Women, Read More
Every week, we're going to introduce an LPGA rookie of 2011. Welcome, Sara Brown.
Brown, the two-time Big Break contestant who played on the Futures Tour for three years, has finally broken through to the LPGA Tour. The 25-year-old is one of a few young golfers to graduate college, and the fully-exempt rookie spoke with us about climbing out of a slump, playing without swing thoughts and living with a man who is her boyfriend, instructor and caddie, all in one.
Golf Digest Woman: You decided to play four seasons of college golf, which is something most young female golfers opt out of. How will that experience help you this year?
Sara Brown: There's a huge misconception that college doesn't prepare golfers for being out on the road. But time management is key in college--I had to balance school with having friends and traveling to golf tournaments--and it'll be key out on tour. In that sense, college helped a lot.
GDW: And three years on the Futures Tour must have been a grind. How did you stick with it?
SB: Believe it or not, I put my clubs away after the summer of 2009. I just wanted to quit. I wasn't having fun. And I totally want to be that person who plays golf everyday, even when I'm 80. I want to be out on the course with my husband. And I just didn't see myself doing that with all the pressure of competitive golf. I called it the "sophomore slump."
GDW: So how did you climb out of the slump?
SB: I had a great support system with my family and my boyfriend, Derek Radley. They really helped me realize why I love golf so much. Especially Derek, a Class A PGA Professional who came along and helped me with my swing and helped me balance my personal life. Before meeting him, I had put a lot of pressure on myself to play good. And when I didn't win and transition to the LPGA Tour after my first year on the Futures Tour, I got down and depressed. But now, with Derek's help, I've been happy. Whether I shoot 76 or 66, I'm still happy. People can't tell the difference, because I've found the love of golf again and it makes me play better.
GDW: Tell us a little bit more about that support system. Who will be your caddie this year?
SB: Actually, Derek (27 years old) is going to be my full-time caddie. And he's also my coach. So Derek is my golf instructor, caddie and boyfriend all rolled into one.